A 21-year-old man has been arrested and charged with murder after the body of his wife was discovered following a days-long search. Zarrius Hildabrand was taken into custody by the Anchorage Police Department on Friday morning and is now facing charges of first-degree and second murder, as well as tampering with evidence. The case is being investigated as a homicide.
The victim, 21-year-old Saria Hildabrand, had been reported missing by her family since Sunday morning. Both Saria and Zarrius were members of the Alaska military and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson communities. Zarrius is a cannon crewmember assigned to the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 11th Airborne Division, while Saria served as a combat medic in the Alaska Army National Guard.
According to her family, Saria was last seen and heard from on Sunday morning near her Campbell Park apartment complex, where she lived with her husband. It was unusual for her to leave her phone at home, which raised concerns among her loved ones. Zarrius took to Facebook on Wednesday night, more than two days after her disappearance, to seek help in finding her.
Charging documents revealed that Zarrius and Saria were out with friends on the night of August 5, celebrating Zarrius’ 21st birthday. They returned home late at night, and a neighbor reported hearing a gunshot around 2:45 a.m. the following morning. Zarrius claimed that Saria left for work at 10 a.m. but did not bring her phone due to a hangover. However, conflicting reports emerged, with a friend stating that Saria had intended to call off work.
Suspicion grew when several of Saria’s coworkers received a text message from her at 10:45 a.m., stating that she was calling off work. Zarrius denied sending the text and could not explain how it was sent. He also admitted to not worrying about his wife until 10 p.m. on Sunday when he went out to search for her. He filed a missing person report on Monday evening, believing it might be a misunderstanding.
During the investigation, police noticed two pistols on Zarrius’ kitchen table, but he claimed to have only one gun. Surveillance footage from local stores revealed that he made purchases on Sunday, including bed sheets, hydrogen peroxide, and a large trash can. A drone search on Thursday led to the discovery of evidence that ultimately led to the finding of Saria’s body.
Saria’s mother, Meredith Barney, flew to Alaska from Utah to assist in the search for her daughter. In court, she requested that Zarrius be kept in custody. The Alaska Army National Guard and the 11th Airborne Division expressed their condolences for the loss of Specialist Saria Hildabrand and acknowledged Zarrius’ arrest.
Neighbors described Saria as “super sweet” and expressed shock at her disappearance. The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with their financial difficulties resulting from Saria’s tragic death.